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Posted: January 10, 2021

Mobile homes have higher electricity costs: BC Hydro

A new BC Hydro report finds many British Columbians living in mobile homes – many of whom are elderly or low-income – are at an energy disadvantage compared to other home types.

The report titled “Mobiles and megawatts: Why mobile homes use the most electricity” finds the average mobile home (also known as a manufactured home) uses 50 per cent more electricity per square foot than the average single-family home. While the size of mobile homes is similar to most apartments, their overall energy use is closer to that of townhouses or duplexes with nearly double the square footage.

Over 70,000 BC Hydro customers live in mobile homes – one of the highest concentrations in Canada. The largest proportion is located in the Southern Interior and more than 60% of B.C.’s mobile home residents are over the age of 60.

A recent survey found limited insulation options and some inefficient heating and cooling behaviours are large contributors to higher electricity use in mobile homes. About 20% of mobile home residents use portable space heaters as one of their heating sources – one of the most expensive ways to heat a home. Further, about 85% open windows at least some of the time to help regulate temperature swings in their homes.

BC Hydro data also shows more than half of mobile home customers use a cooling system in the summer – this is higher than other dwelling types. Many use portable air conditioners, which use 10 times more energy than a central air conditioning system or a heat pump. Heating can account for up to 50% of a BC Hydro bill in the colder months, so improving heating and insulation is the most impactful efficiency change.

While 75% of those living in mobile homes are interested in conserving electricity and saving money, many are concerned with how much it will cost or do not know where to start. There are a number of rebates, programs and tools available to help customers save energy and money, and BC Hydro recommends:

  • Taking advantage of rebates and incentives: BC Hydro offers home renovation rebates year-round to improve a home’s energy efficiency, including rebates up to $2,000 for upgrading windows and doors, and up to $2,000 for installing a heat pump – the most efficient way to cool in the summer and heat in the fall and winter.
  • Enrolling in energy saving programs: BC Hydro offers the income qualified Energy Conservation Assistance Program and energy saving kits that provide advice and products to make energy-efficient home upgrades.
  • Tracking electricity use: Use MyHydro to see how everyday actions like turning on a space heater affect electricity usage.

BC Hydro

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